America’s Syria Chemical Weapons Redux: Regime Change Back on Agenda?
With the participation of Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon began bombing targets in northeastern Syria on September 22, 2014. At the same time, Israel downed a Syrian jet—which was fighting the same forces that the US-led coalition claims to be going after—over the Golan Heights, which is Israeli-occupied Syrian territory.
Washington is trying to confuse and blur things through a series of different steps it has taken to claim legitimacy for violating international law.
According to the Syrian Foreign Ministry, the US informed Bashar Al Jaafari, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN,that US-led attacks would be launched in Al-Raqqa Governate.
Informing Damascus through a formal unilateral notification does not amount to being given the legal consent of the Syrian government. Nor does it make the airstrikes on Syrian territory legal whatsoever. This is why the Pentagon claimed that the US-led bombing campaign inside Syria was prompted by the threat of an “imminent” attack that was being planned against the US or, as they increasingly call it in the Washington Beltway, “the homeland.” This allegation was made by the US government to give legal cover to the bombardment of Syrian territory.
By claiming that the security of the US was threatened, the US is trying to legitimize its violation of international law. Under Article 51 of the UN Charter, defensive attack is only legal when an imminent attack is about to take place, which is why the US has made the convenient claim that it launched the airstrikes to prevent the imminent attack on American soil.
Would not such an attack by non-state actors go forward even with the US-led airstrikes, particularly if these cells were already in the US?
US Illusions and Perception Management
It is just one lie after another. Several days earlier, on September 19, the US used its presidency over the UN Security Council in New York to project the perception that its actions have the backing of the council and the whole world.
Do not be fooled. This is merely public relations wizardry and perception management. The US-led attacks on Syria do not have the backing of the UN Security Council and are illegal.
US Secretary of State John Kerry told a ministerial meeting discussing the crisis in Iraq at the Security Council that the world needed to combine its forces together to end the rule of the pseudo-caliphate in northern Iraq. “Ultimately, history will judge how the world responds to this moment, to this challenge,” he told the UN Security Council gathering.
Kerry should stop evoking history ad nauseam. Or, more correctly, the US State Department’s speech writers should stop evoking history whenever the US government tries to sell war and regime change to the world. They taunt history with their rhetoric. If they really believed in what they were saying, the US government would never have created the monsters that it has unleashed on the people of Iraq and Syria.
Speaking about the insurgents, Secretary Kerry told the ministerial gathering that “these terrorists are actually unique in their brutality.” He then went on to describe their modus operandi of brutally murdering prisoners, infanticide, forced marriage, rape, and persecution of minorities. In reality, the US has known about this for years, but mentions these crimes now as pretexts for something else.
Nor is it chance that Saudi Arabia—the Kingdom of Horrors where head chopping is normal and voting a crime—has renewed diplomatic ties with Iraq.
The day before Kerry appeared at the UN, on September 18, he said: “Last week, the Iraqis weren’t just invited to come to Jeddah, but they were warmly received by the Saudis and by the rest of the countries there. And the Saudis announced in that meeting that they will reopen an embassy in Baghdad.”
The debauched House of Saud, which has refused to recognize the government in Baghdad for more than a decade, is snaring the Iraqis further into Washington’s net of “constructive chaos.”
Smokescreen for another war in the Middle East?
The ISIL/IS is a smokescreen for something much larger. Its influence has been deliberately inflated and its threat has been presented in the media as larger-than-life to justify the current attack on Syria.
It has been used to justify the mobilization of the Pentagon and what is looking more and more like a US-led military buildup in the Middle East.
While US Ambassador Samantha Powers simultaneously passed notes behind Kerry and was doing her best to look emotionally moved or stirred at his speech to the Security Council, the Secretary of State called for a “holistic global campaign.”
It is worth revisiting John Kerry’s words to unpack what Washington’s goals are.
“In the face of this sort of evil, we have only one option: to confront it with a holistic global campaign that is committed and capable of degrading and destroying this terrorist threat; to confront it with a holistic global campaign that is committed and capable enough to ensure whether in Iraq, Syria, or elsewhere, ISIL cannot find safe haven,” he told the Council.
The top US diplomat went on to explain that “countries like Australia are committing to deploying fighter jets and support aircraft and personnel.”
“Germany, in recognition of the grave threat posed by ISIL, reversed its longstanding policy against offering lethal aid. France, last night, conducted its first air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq,” he continued.
It is no mere coincidence that Secretary Kerry compared the US-led coalition being assembled to the illegal Anglo-American march to war against Iraq in 2003 and the “coalition of the willing” that the US put together for that particular quagmire.
Washington and its allies were involved in large-scale military deployments and months of military mobilization before the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. With the US declaration of a war against ISIL, a similar process of massive military mobilization seems to be underway.
While the Obama Administration has assured the world that there will be no American troops on the ground, there are statements by US generals and officials that there will eventually be a deployment of forces.
There will need to be boots on the ground to monitor the airstrikes and to do reconnaissance work.
Chemical Weapons Replay and Mission Creep
Washington has also reused its same discredited chemical weapons play book on Syria. Days before the bombing of Syria started, Kerry pulled the chemical weapons card out of his sleeves again.
This time, however, Washington did it with far less drama and media posturing. In other words, it is East Ghouta, version lite.
The chemical weapons script has been reused for a reason: the US is still going after the Syrian government. Addressing the US Congress, Kerry said that Damascus had breached its commitments to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). “We believe there is evidence of [President Bashar] Assad’s use of chlorine, which when you use it—despite it not being on the list—it is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” he said.
Is it a coincidence that just when Washington assembled its multinational coalition to fight ISIL, it conveniently mentioned that Syria violated the CWC?
The threat of mission creep is real. Suspicion that the Syrian chemical weapons redux could be part of some US brinkmanship strategy to justify the bombing campaign against Syria is not out of place whatsoever. Washington does look like it is creating a pretext for expanding the illegal airstrikes in Syria.
According to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the US wants to bomb Iraq and Syria without consequences, any accountability or limitations, using ISIL as a smokescreen. “With this move, America wants to find an excuse to do the same thing to Iraq and Syria that it is doing to Pakistan,” he said.
If Pakistan is indeed the model, then what the US envisions is a long-term bombing campaign, which again brings mission creep into question. Additionally, older US objectives of neutralizing Lebanon and regime change against Iran should not be ruled out either.
Uncle Sam is Weaseling his way back into the Middle East
The US and its “coalition of the guilty” are not mobilizing with the main aim of fighting the death squads in Iraq and Syria. After all, Washington and company spawned these insurgents, which really act as America’s foot soldiers and agents of what has been termed “constructive chaos.”
Moreover, the “holistic” approach that Washington has called for involves intelligence sharing, government-to-government contact, private sector partnerships, information exchanges, and training programs. This interaction is part of Washington’s soft power approach to expand its influence. It is one of Washington’s patented strategies for infiltration other countries and either recruiting or co-opting people in different state agencies, institutions, and government bodies.
The US sees the campaign against ISIL as something that could take years. This is an encrypted way of saying that Washington envisages a permanent military deployment. What the Obama Administration is doing is repositioning the US military for what looks to be a large redeployment to the Middle East. You need to read between the lines to see what is being conjured up from the cauldron.
The firepower and military assets being committed go beyond what is needed for merely fighting ISIL.
Once the military buildup takes place, chances are that US-led forces could and would remain in place. What the last Iraqi government refused to give the US government, permanent basing rights, could essentially be delivered because of the campaign against ISIL and its pseudo-caliphate.
The military force being marshaled by Washington could eventually grow to into a broader assault force. It cannot be emphasized enough the specter of mission creep is hovering too.
Not only is Syria in the crosshairs, but the US-led military buildup could be used to threaten Iran. Albeit, Tehran has very confidently said that it does not fear the American troop buildup, Iranian military commanders have repeatedly warned about any aggressive moves by enemy powers.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.